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"Peter Ibbetson" (1935)


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Once again, like many other film's I've finally come to see, after reading so many about them and longing to have the opportunity of watching them (i.e. "Trouble in Paradise"), I was afraid this one was not going to meet my expectations, and I was wrong.

 

First of all, Gary Cooper really impressed me so favorably; so early in his career he was able to handle such a difficult role and give a complex and sensitive performance, conveying Peter Ibbetson's ethereal aspects. Gary Cooper was really a fine actor (not only a charming personality and huge star), good at Drama, Adventure, Western, Romance, Comedy et al.

 

Cooper portrays the idealistic Peter Ibbetson, a young man so deeply attached to his childhood memories, that he cannot feel fulfilled or happy, in spite that he's supposed to have everything a man would wish, to find happiness.

 

Ann Harding, on the other hand, of whose performance regarding this film I've read that she wasn't ethereal enough to play this part (Peter Ibbetson's childhood sweetheart, Mary), I must say that I found her well suited to it, as always giving a sincere, sensitive, natural and restrained performance, looking perfect in period clothes.

 

Both lead performers transmit truth into their characterizations, embodying the love that trascends all the obstacles or "L'amour fou" as French defined it, giving endearing performances. Beautiful Cinematography by the great Charles Lang and great sets by Hans Dreier.

 

John Halliday plays expertly the stern Duke of Towers; Ida Lupino looks pretty and shows her great talent in a supporting role as a vulgar English woman Peter Ibbetson befriends in Paris and Douglass Drumbille is the "menacing at first sight", uncle of the Title character.

 

Mention apart deserve lovely Virginia Weidler and Dickie Moore, who portray the leading stars as children, giving impressive, terrific performances. Their scenes together have been among the most heart-wrenching and sincere I've ever seen, featuring a couple of child actors (the 1949 film "The Secret Garden" featuring Dean Stockwell and Margaret O'Brien comes to my mind).

 

If you liked such pictures as "Smilin' Through", "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir", "I'll Never Forget You", "Berkeley Square", "Somewhere in Time" or "Portrait of Jennie", you must see this one.

 

The DVD transfer (released by Universal as part of the "Gary Cooper Collection") is of very good quality. It would be nice if TCM could air this great film.

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I will be on the lookout for this one! Gary Cooper is a wonderful actor.

 

What did you (or others) think of BERKLEY SQUARE? I thought it was a huge downer of a film. Am I the only one? Was it big at the time of it's release? I've read it was one of the first "time travel" themed movies released.

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Alix,

 

Regarding "Berkeley Square" (1933) with Leslie Howard and Heather Angel, sadly I have never seen it (I havn't got access to the Fox Classics Channel where I live), I've only read a lot about it. When I was kid I saw the remake "I'll Never Forget You" with Ann Blyth and Tyrone Power and the movie lingered forever in my mind. I just love this kind of films.

 

As well I haven't seen (yet) Norma Shearer's version of "Smilin' Through", only the 1941 Jeanette MacDonald one. I don't know if the 1923 version with Norma Talmadge exists...maybe it's a lost film (like most Silents).

 

Other films "of the sorts" I'd like to see are "Outward Bound" (1930) with Leslie Howard, remade as "Between Two Worlds" (1944) with John Garfield; and "The Bridge of San Luis Rey" (1929), which was remade in the 1940s.

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Once again, thanks to you feaito, I'll have to reorder my Netflix queue and move this one up on my list. Thanks, as always, for your many contributions and reviews. I look forward to seeing this Gary Cooper film soon!

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I, too, was very excited with watching PETER IBBETSON; I never thought I'd get the chance. It's a very moving and absolutely striking film that even brought a moistness to my eyes. It was very out-of-step for its year and it's oft-teamed star and director. But I have to say Universal is the pits when it comes to packaging. I had to go through four different editions of the set to make one with two scratch-free discs. Same with my Abbott and Costello Volume One. Why can't Universal just put out their films like every other company in normal DVD packaging? Geez.

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Feaito, i too had moist eyes when viewing this film.I

thought Gary Cooper was the sensitive one in the film.

I would love to see all the films that you mentioned

Feaito here's hoping!... This review is better than

ever! Those of you who haven't seen this film as yet

your in for quite a treat courtesy of Feaito! enjoy!

:) lolite...

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Johnny Thanks for the feedback; I know what you mean about the packaging, I also own Deanna Durbin's Collection. Still, luckily enough it hasn't bothered me that much.

 

And Lolly, thank you ever so much! I too was very moved by the film, but perhaps watching it with my wife and mum, prevented me of gettin' more emotional...when I watch films alone, I'm much more myself. The other day when I watched "The Constant Nymph" I'm not ashamed to admit that I was moved to tears. I'm very sentimental whern it comes to certain typoe of films...something that bothered me when I was younger ('cos when I was kid I was taught that boys didn't cry), but being almost 40 I don't care anymore.

 

Now, on this long weekend I'm spending with my parents and wife at the former's beach house (tomorrow is a National Holiday here in my country), I've watched many good films with them, besides Ibbetson...."Beau Geste", "De-Lovely" and TCM's Documentary on Errol Flynn. It's been fun!

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Feaito, I'm happy to hear that you've been having a relaxing weekend! It's a holiday for us this weekend too, with Independence Day on the 4th - "4th of July" and I'd like to wish everyone a happy one! Break out the barbecues and fireworks!

 

And about "Peter Ibbetson," I have to say, this too looked boring when I previewed it after buying the Coop collection. But, I really have to take the time to sit and WATCH it, since your review and everyone else's comments do sound good. And thanks again for taking the time to write it. Your reviews are always good.

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